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Farmers use federal cost-share dollars to curb soil erosion

Farmers use federal cost-share dollars to curb soil erosion
Major soil erosion hazard requires several practices to control it.

Gullies from soil erosion likely didn’t form overnight, and you probably can’t fix the issue overnight. But you can tame gullies step by step, and federal cost-share dollars can help.

Chad Schotter, Kosciusko County district conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, demonstrated that principle by providing before-and-after pictures from a dairy farm in his area. He has worked with the farmer for several years on a number of conservation practices to help solve soil erosion issues on his farm. The practice pictured here helped correct soil erosion problems in an area where cows travel from the feedlot to the pasture field.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Federal cost share dollars can turn an eyesore into a great view. Check out the before and after photos at the end of this story.

To solve problems created by animal movement in a high-traffic lane, Schotter suggested a diversion be installed to catch water coming out of the adjoining field. The diversion is a grass waterway.

To the left and out of sight in the photo showing the practice after it was installed is a large gully in the crop field. Schotter says the diversion is taking care of that gully as well.

The plan was to allow minimal surface runoff to cross the high-traffic use area, he says. This was accomplished in two ways. The diversion kept water from the field from coming onto the animal route. And installing a heavy-use area treatment process on the path helped reduce erosion created by animal traffic.

Cost-share available

This is just one of several practices this farmer has installed to help minimize soil erosion problems and protect natural resources on his farm, Schotter says. He has used cost-share funds when his projects have qualified for assistance.

This particular project was funded through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program, better known as EQIP.

How long you have to wait for cost-share funds for a project may depend on how many people have applied for conservation funds in your area. Kris Vance, public affairs specialist with NRCS, advises visiting your local NRCS office to inquire about cost-share possibilities.

This particular farm lies within the National Water Quality Initiative area, Schotter says. When land is within an area targeted for improvement through these special programs, it’s usually easier to get cost-share, since additional money is available.

Contact your NRCS or soil and water conservation district office to see what type of help is available in your area, Vance says.

BEFORE: Note how soil erosion was causing issues on this dairy farm, especially where cows went to pasture daily. And AFTER: Here is how the same area looks after a diversion waterway and heavy-use traffic area were installed with the help of federal cost-share dollars.

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